The trash to extract snake oil latest health and beauty trend called “oil pulling” may seem a little unusual. But, it has been in the news lately, all over YouTube, and celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and even Shailene Woodley, who stars in the film “Divergent,” have tried it and swear by its health and beauty benefits. So what exactly is oil pulling?
Oil pulling is an Indian practice that is over 3,000 years-old. It is supposed to improve oral health by strengthening teeth and gums and preventing decay and bleeding gums. The internet is full of stories and testimonials from people who use this method to whiten their teeth and improve overall oral health. Some people even say that it clears up acne!
What Does Oil Pulling Involve?
Oil pulling involves swishing a tablespoon of a cold-pressed organic oil (an oil that has not been extracted using chemicals) like sesame or coconut oil in your mouth for 10-15 minutes. It’s similar to using mouthwash without the gargling. The oil mixes with your saliva and is supposed to go from clear to a milky white color. After the oil turns white, you spit it out. Not down the sink, though; the oil could clog the drain. Many oil pullers suggest spitting it out in a cup and throwing it in the trash. Online personal testimonials recommend oil pulling first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, and before brushing your teeth to get the best results.
No one fully understands how or why oil pulling works. How exactly does it get your pearly whites sparkling and rid your mouth of bad bacteria? Some studies suggest that the lipids in the oil pull out the toxins and bad bacteria in your mouth which then bind to the lipids. This is why, after swishing, you don’t want to swallow—you would be swallowing oil containing toxins and bacteria.